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In Illinois, all parents are financially responsible for their minor children. When two parents are married, it is assumed that both parents will contribute to the financial needs of their child. When those parents are not married, or they get a divorce, typically one parent must make child support payments. In most situations, the parent that pays child support only must do so until the child reaches the age of 18. It is then assumed that the child can make their own living and financially support themselves.
When a child suffers from a disability, they are sometimes unable to work and earn that income to support themselves. Illinois law recognizes this and outlines certain times when child support can be extended to support a child with a disability.
According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a disability is considered an impairment that prohibits a person from performing a major life activity. An impairment can be physical or mental and can include developmental disorders, physical handicaps, intellectual disabilities, and more. As long as the impairment is severe enough that it limits a child’s ability to perform daily tasks, support for the child may be extended.
Not every child with a disability will continue to receive child support past the age of 18, even when their disability qualifies under the Illinois statute. When determining whether to continue child support payments, the courts will take many factors into consideration.
The first is if the disability was diagnosed by a medical professional during the time the child was receiving child support prior to turning 18 years of age. This is a requirement for extending child support.
The courts will also consider the child’s own financial situation. If the child has received a large inheritance, for example, the court may determine that they do not need child support because they have resources of their own. Additionally, if the child is receiving government assistance in the form of Social Security benefits or private aid, the court may also determine that the child does not require child support benefits.
The courts will also consider the financial situation of each parent. If, for example, extending child support will place one parent in undue financial hardship, the courts are likely going to be hesitant to force that parent to pay additional support.
Extending child support for a disabled adult is always complex and will depend on each specific situation. If you have questions about child support, whether you are paying it or receiving it, call our experienced Hinsdale family lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. After reviewing the facts of your case, we can advise on whether your child is likely eligible for extended child support. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our attorneys that can review your case.